Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Conversions At Ephesus

In Acts 19, the apostle Paul met some disciples at Ephesus. He asked them: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” to which they replied, “we have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” This exchange caused Paul to inquire about their baptism about which they said they were immersed “into John’s baptism.” After hearing this, the apostle insisted they be baptized again, but why? Why did these men need to be re-immersed? Find out in this presentation from evangelist Johnny Elmore from the 2017 Grapevine, TX Preacher’s Study.
Conversions at Ephesus MP3 Link

For the question and answer session that followed the main presentation, see the following links:

Conversions at Ephesus Q&A MP3 Link

The Birth of the Spirit (John 3:1-8)

Many English translations of the New Testament record John 3:8 like this: “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” This rendering has caused a great deal of confusion concerning the message Jesus is preaching about being born again, or born of water and the Spirit. In this presentation from the 2017 Grapevine, TX Preacher’s Study, evangelist Clint De France gives an exposition of the passage with special emphasis on how to interpret John 3:8.
The Birth of the Spirit MP3 Link

For the Q&A session that followed the main presentation, check out the following links:

The Birth of the Spirit Q&A MP3 Link

The Operation of the Holy Spirit: Direct or Indirect

Over the years there have been a great many good, honest, and sincere brethren who have held to the doctrine of a personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit. As I look into the teachings of scripture, though I do not doubt their wisdom or intelligence, I cannot agree that this is the truth. A number of old worthies, so far as I understand, held this position. But while they contended that the Holy Spirit Himself inhabited their bodies, they did not argue any operation, separate and apart from the word. In fact, from what I have heard, they would freely admit that He did nothing separate from the Word. Over time the generations that followed, and held the same belief, took it a step further,  arguing that He did something, but they didn’t know what it was, some suggested there was no way of knowing. Finally we are now in a dark stage of this idea’s development, as men are boldly and brazenly declaring that the Holy Spirit has specific operations that He works in the lives of men without the medium of the Word (directly or personally). Some take it further than others, but all are in a very dangerous position that compromises many fundamental truths of God’s Word, including the Bible’s claims about itself.

The Bible’s Claims About Itself

The same scriptures that we have used for years to fight the Catholics, Mormons, and Holy Rollers, challenge this idea of direct operation. The Apostle Paul told Timothy that the “scripture” makes us “perfect” and “thoroughly furnishes us unto every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:17) We learn form the Apostle Peter that through the “knowledge ofHim” we are given “all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3) How do we come to the “knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” by some miraculous, supernatural, unexplainable working of God? NO! The Bible is clear in informing us that knowledge of God comes only by the Word. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) This is the Holy Spirit working our lives! “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God… For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:11-12,16) 

The Bible says that it does this great work of perfecting, edifying, and furnishing, and that it does it perfectly and thoroughly. Shall we call the word of God a liar? This truly is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit!

What Does the Holy Spirit Do that the Word Does not Do?

The Bible is very clear in informing us what the work of the Holy Spirit is, yet these personal indwelling, direct operation folks try to make it ambiguous and uncertain. When Christ promised to send Him in the 14th chapter of John, He explained why He would be coming: He would comfort, He would convict, He would convert, He would guide, and He would abide forever. All these things areaccomplished in the Word!

I heard a man teach at a funeral not so long ago, that Christians should allow the indwelling Spirit to give the peace and comfort, “and then seek your comfort from the scripture.” This is incredulous! Earlier this year I lost my father to cancer, this ended a long and agonizing experience of watching him suffer. It would have been easy for me to blame God and be lost in despair. But that didn’t happen, the Holy Spirit did what He was sent to do, He comforted me as I read of a hope in the resurrection of Christ Jesus, as I read of the paradise that awaits the saved and the victory through Christ over death and the grave. Apart from the scripture I had no comfort, no rest, and no peace.

I have further known many Christians who were engaged in wrong doing, ignorant of there sin, and were not compelled to stop until, shown in the Word of their error.  They were convicted. Did the Holy Spirit not dwell in them? If so why did He not personally queue them in on their wrongdoing? On the day of Pentecost, how did those Jews fall under conviction that moved them to repent? By the working of the Holy Spirit? Yes, of course! Then, by direct operation? NO! The Bible tells us, “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37)

What about conversion? This too cannot be done with the Word. “Faith cometh by hearing…” When Cornelius, the believing gentile, desired salvation, he prayed to God, and God sent Peter to preach to him. Remember the prayer of Jesus, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:17)

Some will testify, “I have been in a tough situation, when I didn’t know what to do and I felt the Holy Spirit telling me what was right.” If ever a man was guided to do what is right, he was guided through the word. David said, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” What could we ask for that God has not provided in His perfect word? Nothing I say, indeed God has given exceeding abundantly more than we could ever deserve.

Romans 8:26

Many, in desperation turn to Romans chapter 8 and verse 26 as a final proof that the Holy Spirit works separate from the word. “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Why must one assume that this is done separate from the Word, indeed in cannot be, for it deals with edification. We know this cannot be referring to intercession between God and man, for that is done by Christ alone (Romans 8:34; 1 Tim. 2:5), but this presents no problem, the 8th chapter of Romans is to Christians who are already restored to God, the “weakness” here mentioned is that of the flesh, a weakness of ignorance. When we are dead in sin we are without any knowledge of how to please or worship God, so when we are made alive in Christ our “mind must be renewed by the Spirit.” (Romans 12:2) We who do not even know how to talk to God can cry out, “Lord, teach us how to pray!” And in this weakness the Holy Spirit will intercede with edification through the word (Matt. 6:5-7; Mark 11:24)

Accusations: If He Doesn’t Work This Way, He Doesn’t Exist

These have been thrown these accusations at me, but they are foolish indeed. In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth. For six days He continued to create, but on the seventh day He rested, He stopped creating, and has never worked in this manner since. That is not to say that He has lost any of His power or that He no longer exists, He just doesn’t work that way anymore. It was said of Abel that he, “Being dead, yet speaks.” Now he doesn’t speak like he used to, but he still speaks. The Holy Spirit is not dead, the Holy Spirit is not resting. He is working today, doing what he was sent here to do, but he is doing that work through the instrument of God’s Holy Word. CED

The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

There are few subjects that evoke such controversy in the minds of men as those which deal with the Holy Spirit and his role in the life of saint and sinner. This is a truly distressing thing, for the purpose of the Spirit was not to bring controversy but comfort. One such doctrine that we will discuss in the course of this article is that of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer.

The Biblical Doctrine of the Indwelling is Indisputable

I, in all my research, have never found a group of professing Christians who did not hold some belief in the indwelling. This uniformity is rather remarkable, and attests to the scripturality of the idea. Furthermore the Bible says it in no uncertain terms, “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” (Romans 8:9) “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16) We are commanded to be “filled with the Spirit, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord…” (Eph. 5:18-19) again we note, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Cor. 6:19) “And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” (Romans 8:10) There is no room for doubt or confusion, but where confusion and disagreement do come into play is when the manner and nature of the indwelling is discussed. We shall discuss the two primary views briefly in this article.

The Personal, Literal, Direct Indwelling

The view is held by a great many in the religious world, perhaps the majority. It teaches that the person of the Holy Spirit, literally inhabits the Christians body in some mystical, truly inexplicable way. This is the core belief of all the great cult leaders who have claimed guidance separate from the scripture, though we grant that not all who hold this belief are so radical.

One of there own writers said, “One of the basic rules of biblical interpretation is that words must be understood in their literal sense unless such a literal interpretation creates contradiction or absurdity.” I charge that this interpretation does just that! It creates contradiction with other scriptures, and it is absurd! One of many examples of the contradiction is in the fact that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write to Christians commanding them to, “prove all things.” (1 Thess. 5:21) What proof can a man give that he has the person of the Holy Spirit him? By personal testimony? That is all one can offer, and the plain truth is that our testimony carries no more weight in the grand scheme of things than that of the Holiness preacher who can claim the very same thing! It is also an absurd suggestion. As brother Bill Davis pointed out, “If the Holy Spirit is deity, and he dwelt in a human body, would that person not be divine?” (Citing as an example, Jesus Christ, a human body was literally indwelt by deity and it resulted in a God-man.)

Not even the Apostles had such a personal indwelling, not of Christ, God or the Holy Spirit. The danger of this doctrine is not only what it leads too, but even in its most conservative state it muddles the true message of the Bible in regards to how a Christian has the beautiful relationship with God that is his for the taking.

The Representative Indwelling

This position is the second most common, but very much in the minority, especially among the sectarian world. The view states that the Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of the Christian, figuratively and through the medium of the Word (the Bible). Often-times those of us who hold this view are labeled “word only” as if we don’t believe that there is a Holy Spirit, or as if we believe that the Bible is a He. I do not believe that the Bible is the Holy Spirit. I don’t know anyone who claims that. I believe that the Bible claims of itself that it is the sole medium through which the Holy Spirit interacts with man. True religion is begun, carried on and completed by the Holy Spirit – but it is carried on an completed in the same way it is begun: through the medium of the word. One says, “Well I understand that the Holy Spirit convicts, converts, comforts and guides through the Word, I even see ho he intercedes through the Word, but what about the indwelling, where do you get the idea that that is done through the word? Let the Spirit himself answer in the scripture. In Ephesians 5:18-19 we read, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord…” Now we agree that when you have a difficult passage, if you can find a parallel passage you should allow the simple one to interpret the difficult one. Let us notice a parallel passage to Ephesians 5:18-19, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16) One says, “be filled with the Spirit…” the other tells us how, “let the word of Christ dwell in you…” Allow the easy to explain the difficult.

I read a letter not so long ago that a “personal indwelling” preacher, so far as I know, wrote in response to an article challenging that position which had appeared in a prominent religious journal. He said to the Brother who wrote the article, “This controversy existed long before you were born, back to the days of the Restoration Movement, I should think it a little presumptuous for you to try and solve it.” That is quite the point! Let no man try to solve it. If we approach this subject from subjective, emotional arguments we will only have division. Let the Spirit himself solve it, turn to the scriptures and see what they teach. Only there can we find unity! CED